Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip. It was happening, but silent. Hidden in walls. If only the walls could talk. Then they cold have mentioned there was an issue, and we could have avoided the aftermath. But woefully, we do not have talking walls. Instead it was a brown spot on the hardwood floor and some rippled laminate in The Doc’s playroom that alerted us to a problem. Plus a puddle of water on the tile in the downstairs bathroom, that we blamed on JT’s last shower before he left after his Christmas visit, but that returned after being wiped up. After which, we discovered the wall of the cold room full of mold. Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap!
We removed some flooring in the doorway between the hardwood of the family room and the laminate of the playroom. The subfloor was wet. This was a problem that was too big for us–we who have been do-it-yourselfers since day one. This was an issue for our insurance company. The Doc made the call. Him because I tend to jump around and stumble over my words in such situations. Afterwards, I decided check the floor under the piano, which sits against the wall in the family room on the other side of the shower. Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!
The insurance company sent Mr. S from First On Site, a national clean up company with a good reputation, to take a look. We were very happy that they sent First On Site. Mr. S, showed up with a little device that measured the size of all the rooms and another little device that he pressed against the walls as he walked around our lower level. Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, went this device. What does the beep mean, I asked. Wet, he replied. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!
What’s next? we asked.
I will send a report to your insurance adjuster, he replied.
The next day, Mr. D, the insurance adjuster, showed up. As we all know, it is his job to find reasons not to payout insurance claims. Mr. D tried to sooth us with platitudes, such as you purchase insurance for peace of mind. This was said with a big smile and a look of truly believing in his own words. He walked around sizing up our lower level and asking numerous questions before stating that if there was any rot in the subfloor the claim would not be covered by insurance. There were other details referring to the existence of rot such as it meaning that the issue was not new and should have been noticed earlier. Oh if only those walls could have talked.
What’s next we asked.
We’ll get back to you, he replied.
A day or so later, Mr. S, from First On Site called, I am sending in a plumber, he said. We need to find the leak. Based on his last visit and where the water had been and what was currently wet, we were pretty sure that the leak was in the tiled wall behind the shower.
Mr. M, the plumber, was a big fellow with boots the size of placemats. He measured in the bathroom and measured in the family room, then cut a hole in the wall behind the piano to expose the leak. Only one hole and not even a huge hole. And there it was. Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip. Then he took a video. As he repaired the leak, he shared horror stories of other people’s water and insurance issues. Scary stores of entire backs of houses being rotten, and hopeful stories of people fighting the insurance companies and winning. The Doc and I were certainly not up for a fight.
What’s next? we asked.
I will send a report to First On Site, he replied.
And then we crossed our fingers and waited. It took a few days before we learned that they were sending a team out to look for rot. When the team arrived it was a simple task of lifting some of the laminate in the corner of the floor in The Doc’s playroom, an area not far from where the brown spot had appeared on the hardwood floor. We were very, very, very, very, very happy to learn that there was no rot. Phew, Phew, Phew, Phew, Phew!
What’s next? we asked.
Packing up your stuff, bringing in fans, treating for mold, replacing floors and walls where necessary, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. was the reply.
The timeline for all this is unknown to us. On Monday they called and said they were packing up on Tuesday, so we spent the day packing up some more fragile things, and moving things that we didn’t want packed up and even creating a sizable donation pile. However, they didn’t arrive on Tuesday although we had gotten up early to be prepared. Apparently a couple of their employees tested positive for Covid. We found out when they sent us an email late that morning.
This morning, while we were still in bed and just barely awake, the door bell rang. The Doc headed to the closet for some clothes and I grabbed my housecoat from the hook in the bathroom and headed to the door. Standing there were two representatives from First On Site ready to start packing up our lower-level belongings. Who knew they were coming today? We certainly didn’t. Anyway their job is to pack up the small stuff and prepare for when the movers come to remove everything sometime, unknown to us, in the future.
The one thing they have no plans to move is the piano. I get it, moving a piano is not an easy feat. They wanted to push it into the laundry room. It would need to sit between my washer and my freezer. Opening the door of the front-loading washer would be precarious if at all possible. Trying to get to the freezer would be futile. You have got to be kidding! Sorry but access to both the washer and the freezer is kind of a requirement of my existence. Food and clean underwear are important to me. So instead the poor old piano is going to be moved into the dusty old furnace room. I am thinking a tarp will be necessary, and I am trying to figure out a way to still have my weekly FaceTime piano lessons with JT, because you know as well as I do that this job is going to take some time. It has already been three weeks since we made the call. On the plus side, it is all being covered by our insurance. Yay, yay, yay, yay, yay.
Thank you for reading
Photos: Jenn Stone